Sharpe Named May Sweet Onion Citizen
BLUE ANGELS SOUVENIR – In appreciation for assisting
UNIQUE GIFT – Vidalia Regional Airport Manager Billy Ra – gan, right, presents Vidalia Fire Department Chief Brian Sikes, left, with a desk lamp made from an airport taxi light. The gift was in appreciation for the Chief’s assistance during the Vidalia Onion Festival.
At its May 9 session, the Vidalia City Council recognized longtime Vidalia High School Principal John Sharpe as the May recipient of the Sweet Onion Citizen Award. “I really can’t think of someone more deserving or better to present this presentation to,” Mayor Doug Roper told Sharpe, who leaves his role as principal of VHS to assume the directorship at Southeastern Early College and Career Academy.
Roper acknowledged Sharpe’s lengthy list of accomplishments, including 36 total years in education, 10+ years as a teacher and coach, the last 9 years as principal of Vidalia High School, 10+ years working at the Vidalia Recreation Department, and 10+ years as a volunteer coach at the Recreation Department. “Obviously, everything you do, you are led by your faith, so you are involved in our faith-based community,” Roper said, also pointing out Sharpe’s membership in the Vidalia Kiwanis Club and his service as a president of that organization.
“But, when I think of you, the word that comes to mind is ‘ambassador’ for our city. If you look at your involvement, everywhere you go, you have a tremendous sense of pride in our community – look no further than when we built the new high school. Watching you take so much pride in that building, and how you walk community members and visitors through it, took it to the next level for how much pride you take in our community,” Roper said.
“On behalf of myself and the Council, thank you for how you have poured your efforts into our youth. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, those seeds will be watered; they have been and will continue to be,” Roper concluded.
Sharpe responded, “Thank you all for this honor, and I will continue to work the rest of my days to continue to make sure that I show I value this community,” he commented.
Sharpe recently left his role as principal at Vidalia High School to assume the directorship of SECCA.
Vidalia City Redistricting The Council heard the first reading of a resolution to redistrict the wards within the City to correct apportioning issues reflected by the 2020 census. In this redistricting, Ward 3 will gain some territory, while Ward 4 will lose some constituents to ensure all wards have equal populations. This redistricting has been reviewed by the Vidalia City Schools Board of Education, which is in agreement with the plan. A final decision will be voted upon at the next meeting.
Discharging Weapons Inside City Limits
An amendment to the city ordinance regarding discharging weapons in the residential areas and business districts was unanimously approved by the Council. This ordinance will now include airsoft weapons, which are plastic guns made to look like firearms that shoot plastic pellets. “Mainly, this change in the ordinance broadens what officers can do related to weapons,” City Manager Nick Overstreet explained. An addition to the city ordinance prohibiting burning inside the city limits was also unanimously approved to prevent unnecessary fires. “This gives the Fire Department more ability to govern fires started in backyards,” Overstreet commented.
Several first readings of changes to ordinances were read to update policies to reflect current practices and procedures within the city. The affected ordinances deal with water services, landscaping, and more. These policies may be viewed online at the City of Vidalia website.
Runway 7/25 of the Vidalia Regional Airport will receive a slab replacement by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The project will be completely federally funded, and will cost $1,701,680 with 0% local share required.
Department Head Reports
Vidalia Regional Airport Manager Billy Ragan presented Vidalia Fire Department Chief Brian Sikes with a lamp made from an airport taxi light, and Vidalia Police Chief James Jermon with a signed photo of the Blue Angels as a gesture of thanks for their work during the Onion Festival.
Sikes shared that the City has seen 39 more fires so far this year in comparison to last year. “That trend is continuing, but we are hoping that the new addition to the ordinance helps cut back on some of the calls,” he told the Council. Station 1, which was damaged by a storm at the beginning of this year, has now returned to full operation, and plans to have an Open House for the public soon.
Jermon shared that the Police Department has hired a new certified officer, Sarah Waters, who will soon be patrolling the streets.
ESG Project Manager Tony Hall thanked City Assistant Manager James O’Neal for his help during the Vidalia Onion Festival, and shared that O’Neal served as a leader and mentor for Hall throughout his first experience with this celebration.
Vidalia Recreation Director Scott Strickland informed the Council that in preparation for the opening of the public pool, 13 lifeguards were recently certified, 8 of which are now deep-water certified.
Vidalia Convention Center & Visitors Bureau Director Alexa Britton shared that the July 4th Celebration will occur at the Ronnie A. Dixon Park, and planning is now underway. She also told the Council that last month the city hosted 676 visitors from 45 states, 3 countries, and the Washington, D.C., area.
City Clerk Amy Murray was presented with a plaque in celebration of Municipal Clerks Week to thank her for her contributions to the City of Vidalia.
Leadership Georgia Program Chair Chas Cannon thanked the Council for its hospitality during the program’s visit to Vidalia during the week of the Vidalia Onion Festival.
port Manager Billy Ragan, right, presents Vidalia Police Chief James Jermon, left, with an autographed souve- nir from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
Photo By Makaylee Randolph